Larimer's Lair

A place for me to document what's on my mind at any given point in time, and to promote my book "Organ Donation: Why My Heart's Not In It Anymore" which I have posted to my forum of the same name and is available free for anyone to read there.


Book: The Organ Thieves (non-fiction)

A few days ago, I went to my local public library's website to see if it had Bret Baier's book "Special Heart" about his first-born son's multiple heart defects and subsequent surgeries, including multiple aorta transplants.  Though I have never read the book, I've heard a lot about it from his interviews about it, and in one of those interviews, he talked about the donors being children who "didn't make it," at which point I seem to recall him saying words to the effect that he wasn't sure he would be able to do it (donate his child's organs) if the shoe was on the other foot.  More specifically, I seem to recall that he was being interviewed by Brit Hume when he said this.  Yet such a statement doesn't appear in either the transcript of that or any other interview I've ever been able to find, so even though I'm sure I heard someone say this, I've never been sure it was him.  So, finally I decided to see if my local library had the book to see if he says anything like this in the book itself.  But my local library didn't have the book, so I decided to see if it had any other newer books on brain death or organ donation--and up came the book "The Organ Thieves: [sub-title] "The Shocking Story of the First Heart Transplant in the Segregated South," by Charles "Chip" Jones, published in 2020.   (I found it odd that I had never even heard of this book before, given my special interest in the subject and the attention I usually pay to anything that anybody ever says about brain death and organ donation.)

Since then, I got the book from my local public library, and it is now sitting on my desk waiting for me to start reading as soon as I finish typing this, and as I read it, I will be posting my comments about it in my forum in the folder "Recommended Reading."

The book flap of The Organ Thieves reads as follows:
     On May 25, 1968, a fifty-four-year-old African American factory worker named Bruce Tucker arrived in the emergency ward at the Medical College of Virginia (MCV).   He was unconscious after sustaining head injuries that would prove fatal.  What no one could have predicted was that when his dead body was later sent to the funeral home, it would be missing its heart.
     Since the mid-1960s, a race had transfixed the international medical scene.  Who would be the first to successfully transplant a human heart?  From New York to San Francisco to Richmond, Virginia, to Cape Town, South Africa, the world's best and brightest surgical minds worked frenetically to achieve this prestigious feat.  Could a donated organ save a patient racked by heart disease?  And was it ethical to tamper with the organ that many see as the seat of our human emotions?
     Enter Drs. Richard Lower and David Hume, two transplant pioneers at MCV.  The day Tucker was admitted to the hospital, they saw an opportunity to make history.  But Tucker's family, unaware of the doctors' plans for Bruce's heart--would be horrified and traumatized by the ensuing series of events.  Without permission from any family members, Tucker's heart was taken from his body and put into the chest of a successful white businessman.
     Four years later, future first African American governor L. Douglas Wilder, then just a young attorney representing the Tucker family, faced off in court against these same transplant pioneers, MCV, and the full apparatus of the medical and political bodies of Richmond.  Wilder's case became the latest episode in the long history of mistreatment of African Americans in Virginia's medical community, going back to the nineteenth-century "anatomical men," whose midnight grave robberies supplied anatomy classes with cadavers.  
     Written by award-winning journalist and history writer Chip Jones. this explosive story shines a light on issues of race and medical ethics that still resonate today.  Richly researched and compellingly told, The Organ Thieves is a cautionary tale about the human price of progress, scientific ambitions, and the pursuit of professional fame.

It's now been 21 years since my son died

Wednesday, October 5th marked 21 years since my husband and I lost our 18-year-old son Tommy to brain death after a car accident.
Here's a photo of him taken the same year he died... 


Organ Donation Hypocrites?

In my book and forum "Organ Donation: Why My Heart's Not In It Anymore", in the folder titled "Addendum To My Book," post 7.14, I argue that "some of the people who are among the staunchest advocates for organ donation wanted nothing to do with it until they or someone they love needed a transplant," and as an example, I cited the case of a middle-aged Ohio man and his wife, neither of whom signed up to be an organ donor until after he learned he had a liver disease and would eventually need a liver transplant.   He said he felt badly to know that it was something he overlooked, and he also said he realized that people might ask where was he then, and then he answered his own question, saying that his head was in the sand.   I, on the other hand, suggested that it might actually be the most normal thing in the world for people to have their head in the sand about something like organ donation:  That is, maybe when we find ourselves expecting more of others than we expect of ourselves, that should be our first clue that we're expecting too much.  

Along the same line, I heard the father of a child who received a transplant say that he wasn't sure he could bring himself to donate his child's organs if the shoe was on the other foot.

Too few people seem to understand that organ donation can be a double-edged sword.

Just something to think about. 

About the Author
KATHY_OAKMy name is Kathy Larimer.  I was born in 1948, in Ohio, where I now live with my husband to whom I've been married since 1968 and with whom I've had four children-- three daughters and a son, in that order.  We now also have six grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren  

     We also have one cat named Sky who came to us as a stray in 2009, and we also have a 14-year-old cockatiel that I inherited from my eldest daughter, and three parakeets that were hatched right here in our house in 2012.  

     My forum host name--"KATHY_OAK"--dates back to my first Delphi forum which focused on issues relating to the sex research of Dr. Alfred Kinsey who I very much wanted to "out" based on what I learned about him and how his sex research has been used to the detriment of our society and culture.  Thus, "OAK" is an acronym for "Outing Alfred Kinsey."    

    Now I've also taken on the issue of organ donation based on what I learned about it after my husband and I lost our 18-year-old son to brain death in 2001 and consented to donate his organs.  My book about it-- "Organ Donation: Why My Heart's Not In It Anymore" --is accessible free to read through my forum of the same name.  You can access my forum and book here:

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